Re: Alice in Wonderland

Moviemakers, take note. THIS is the kind of video costumers want to see, with plenty of close-ups on the costume details.

If you are looking for an interesting Halloween costume this year, I suggest taking a look at Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland”, recently out on DVD. The combination of Burton’s Gothic outlook and Colleen Atwood’s inspired costume design has resulted in the creation of a number of excellent character costumes. However, don’t limit yourself to the movie alone. The “Alice” story lends itself to a number of fresh interpretations as you will see.

First up, however, let’s take a look at the Burton/Atwood creations.

Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter and Helen Bonham-Carter as the Red Queen.

The costumes of the  Red Queen, the Mad Hatter, and Alice herself are probably the most popular designs from this movie. Since the playing cards are a major motif of the Red Court, those old card tabard costumes one sees around Halloween can be given new life and new relevance as retainers to the Queen.

I would also urge potential Wonderlanders to give some thought to re-creating the White Queen’s costume.  Looking at it, I think that an old prom gown or thrift store wedding gown could be easily re-purposed. Couple the white dress with dark lipstick and nail polish and a white wig and you can be Mirana.

Anne Hathaway as Mirana, the White Queen.

The Mad Hatter has a great ensemble and one that has inspired several how-to vids currently up on the ‘Net. The hat is critical to the look. You can get by without the other pieces, but not without the hat. I would also suggest cannibalizing several of those mini-sewing kits to get the spools for his thread bandolier.

Photo from the Alice in Wonderland Exhibit at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, CA. Taken by Jason in Hollywood on 4/26/10 and posted to his blog. See the full post here.

Every hip, young Goth girl wants to re-create the dresses Alice wore in the movie. I confess to be very fond of her long blue traveling coat myself. However, if you like her embroidered blue dress, but are too old for the her young adult look, may I suggest the blue, embroidered gown her mother, Helen Kingsley (Lindsay Duncan) wears? It’s hard to find pictures of it apart from the film so I was happy to find the above exhibit photo.  Matching embroidered dresses would also be a good choice for mother and daughter costumes.

“Alice in Wonderland” is always ripe for new interpretations. I particularly like Futuregirl Leah Riley’s Steampunk Alice” costumes seen here on Flickr. Check out the apron. The pocket detail is particularly nice. “Alice” lends itself very readily to Steampunk, being partly Victorian and partly fantastical. Kanira, another Flickerite, put together this set of Steampunk Alice costumes here. The stocking mask she uses for the Hatter is particularly sinister looking.

Other ideas: the Mad Catter (a mashup of the Chesire Cat and Hatter characters) would be fun. I would also suggest doing Tweedledee/Tweedledum–twins co-joined or otherwise would make a great two-some costume.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Leah
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 14:50:47

    Thanks for the mention! I do love Alice in Wonderland way too much – I need to get back into the habit of making more costumes!


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